The Allianz holds it breath
Following a goalless first leg, this tie is on a knife edge. What will transpire at the Allianz?
Remember when Niko Kovac was a dead man walking? A slow start - by Bayern’s standards - coupled with Dortmund racing out of the blocks, looked to have spelt the end of the Croat’s reign before it had really begun.
Having stuck by their man, then, Bayern are now reaping the rewards and appear to be hitting form at just the right time. Back in their customary position at the top of Bundesliga having won 12 of the last 13, including the last five, Die Roten are scoring goals by the bucketload too.
The six they stuck past Wolfsburg at the weekend came just a week after they hit Mönchengladbach for five in their own backyard. It seems Bayern, and Robert Lewandowski especially, are back in the groove with the Polish striker having helped himself to two braces in as many games after a lean February.
You sense Jurgen Klopp is caught between a rock and a hard place. Does he risk harming Liverpool’s chances of a first title in almost thirty years with another Champions League run?
Well, the predicament will be no more should Liverpool continue their miserable European record away from Anfield.
Last season’s beaten finalists were defeated in each of their group games, going down in Napoli, Belgrade and Paris. Add to the list the semi-final second leg loss to Roma last year and Liverpool haven’t recorded a victory on their travels since getting the better of Man City in Manchester.
It’s the one goal scored in those three group games that’ll be most troubling Klopp though. Mane, Firmino and Salah don’t seem to be having the same impact as last season, particularly away. Will they come good in Munich?
The match situation is so delicately poised you could make a case for either side going through.
Hence, my thinking in not calling an outright winner but trying to focus on how the match scenario may affect each side.
With this in mind, I’m backing Bayern to score over 1.5 goals (at least two); the onus will be on Bayern, as the hosts, to control the game and although they won’t go hell-for-leather straight away, I can see them creating enough to feed the natural goalscoring instincts of Lewandowski.
Tip: Bayern to score over 1.5 @ 1/1 (2.00)